Currently viewing the category: "Bees"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Hey Bugman,
I tried accessing your site but it was down due to too much traffic. Congratulations, I guess!! 🙂 Anyway, yesterday I noticed about 5-6 really large bees hovering outside my screened porch in Birmingham, AL. They weren’t digging in the wood, just walking all over the screen, like they were trying to nest there. Today, there must have been 2-3 dozen of them. I sprayed them repeatedly, many died, but most came back for more.
Needless to say, we were totally icked out and want these large things gone if possible. Can you tell us who this is that has invaded our home. I’ve attached a picture that shows three of them after they’ve been nuked and out in the sun for some time. What are these scary invaders? Thanks for your help and your great insight and web site.
Ben Fineburg

Dear Ben Fineburg,
Yes, we are down due to heavy traffic, thanks in part to the USA Today Hot Site selection on 7 June. We have just paid for an upgrade and expect to be back up within 24 hours. Your bees look similar, but slenderer than our California Carpenter Bees. It is possible that a female dug a burrow and her brood has recently emerged. Young bees will rest awhile before taking flight. Carpenter Bees can cause considerable damage to wood, but they generally are not aggressive and are reluctant to sting. They are solitary bees, meaning they do not form a hive proper. A female will excavate a burrow in the wood and lay several dozen eggs. Like I said, your specimens look slender, but they could be Xylocopa virginica or a close relative.

Correction courtesy of John Ascher
April 22, 2012
This post is of Megachile sculpturalis not carpenter bees!

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Location:  “Dirt” Burnell, Mount Washington, Los Angeles, CA
We found this beautiful Sweat Bee busily gathering honey and pollen from a wild artichoke in the canyon today. These are solitary bees with metallic green bodies. They nest in a tubular burrow dug in the ground, often in clay banks. They are members of the genus Augochlorella.

ed. Note: (09/06/2004) Eric just wrote in: “The metallic sweat bee is probably an Agapostemon sp. rather than whatever the current name on it is, but they are hard to separate without the specimen in hand.”

(06/07/2004) Are we really a USA Today Hot Site?

Saw your web site – Hot Site from USA Today.
Just shot this last weekend.. The bees were going crazy over this bush in my yard.. Didn’t mind me one bit. It was amazing to me to see how much this bee had stuck to it.

Thanks for the Honey Bee photo John.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

The black Female Valley Carpenter Bees have been having a field day on our sweet peas and honey suckle.

Valley Carpenter Bee Male


What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Hi Bugman,
Big delimma here. We live in Las Vegas, NV close to the Red Rock Mountains, which is just high desert and red rock, but in the warmer months, we get these GIANT , solid black flying bugs that make a buzzing noise while in flight, they are about the size of a baby humming bird, and they have very round full bodies. We are at a complete loss as to what family these monsters belong to. Could they be some sort of giant fly, bee, or buzzard? We have actually been chased (or so it seemed at the time) by these things. Please give some sort of clue as to where we might be able to even start to identify these awful things. Because of these and their size, my poor children are afraid to go out doors to play. Please email back
as soon as humanly possible.
Thank you so very much

Hi Blondi,
My first guess would be a Carpenter Bee. the females are black and buzz. They burrow into telephone poles to nest. While large and loud, they are not aggressive and rarely sting.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Dear Daniel,
Perhaps you can help me figure out the answer to the perennial question: What’s That Bug? It’s hard to draw this bug. It was moving so fast and very erratically and it was extremely LOUD buzzing and it swerved towards me as if it were drunk! I drew it actual size–to the best of my knowledge.

Dear Bugged by Buzzing Behemoth,
To the best of my knowledge, you have had an encounter with a female Valley Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa varipuncta). These very large (1 inch) bees are so named because they bore into wood, forming tunnel-like nests for the rearing of young. Telephone poles and fences are often attacked. The Valley Carpenter Bee has earned itself a bad reputation because of its formidable size and habit of “buzzing” people. The green-eyed male is light brown with golden hairs and looks velvety. The female is a shiny black with bronze reflections on the wings. The female bees can sting, but do so very reluctantly, causing only mild pain.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Late in the afternoon on Labor Day, while preparing for Diorama Club, I noticed a very large, very shiny female Valley Carpenter Bee buzzing loudly and crawling around on a dead branch of my carob tree. I also noticed a perfectly round hole in her proximity. Issuing from the hole was additional buzzing. In the spring, a female VCB had been seen in the vicinity. At that time the honeysuckle was in full bloom along the street, and female VCB’s were often found lapping up nectar. Could it be that I was witnessing the emergence of her brood from the tunnel she had dug for them? I hoped if I watched long enough, I would get to see one of the males. The sexual dimorphism that occurs in the VCB is quite extreme, and a Casual Observer

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination